Updated for 2016.
Here you’ll find out 15 top earbuds (in-ear) that will rock your ears for little money.
See our top picks in categories:
All models picked are great value for money, ….
… in fact we are confident enough to say these are the best cheap earbuds money can buy right now.
All of them are a great combination of build quality, durability, comfort and most of all great sound quality that can compare with 2 or 3 times more expensive IEMs (in-ear monitors).
Check below for the comparison table of top 15 value for money earbuds.
|SoundMAGIC E10 In-Ear Earphones (Top Pick)||4.2||None||Under $50|
|Vsonic VSD1S||3.7||None||Under $50|
|Sennheiser CX 300 II||3.9||None||Under $50|
|JLAB J4 Heavy Bass Metal In-Ear Monitors||3.7||2nd model|
|Brainwavz S0 IEM Earphones||4.1||In-line|
|ZERO AUDIO Carbo Tenore ZH-DX200-CT||4.3||None||Under $50|
|Brainwavz Delta IEM Earphones||3.9||iOS&Android models|
|Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood||4.2||Microphone|
|Zipbuds JUICED 2.0||4.0||None||Under $30|
|Sennheiser CX200 Twist-to-Fit||4.1||None||Under $30|
|Original Xiaomi Piston 3.0||4.1||Remote&Mic||Under $30|
|MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6||3.8||2nd model|
|Panasonic RPHJE 120||4.4||None||Under $20|
|Monoprice 108320 Hi-Fi Earphones||3.7||None||Under $20|
|Philips SHE3590||4.1||None||Under $20|
There are many cheap in-ear headphones to choose from looking just at prices.
But when it comes to sound quality the differences are big.
Yes, earbuds at $5 a pop are dirt cheap. But don’t get too excited just yet, you need to understand what you get with this low price.
Many times it’s wise to spend $10 or $20 more and get a pair of earbuds that will last you longer while play high quality audio comparable with much more expensive models.
It pays to do a little research a get a cheap pair of earbuds that are recommended by experts. You’re sure to get more value out of it.
Most of the cheaper varieties don’t produce the kind of bass and audio quality that you are looking for, but some do.
You can get a great pair of earbuds with high quality audio for very little money, if you pick the right model.
Getting balanced, clean sound with the right amount of bass in cheap earbuds is uncommon, but not impossible. See the reviews below.
All of the models shown here are known for better than expected sound quality, so you can be sure you won’t be disappointed.
Single Driver or Multiple Drivers
A single driver earbud can give you the range you are looking for, which is a normal range of 20 hertz to 20k hertz. Single driver earbuds do have their limitations, but even multiple driver earbuds don’t automatically guarantee a perfect listening experience.
Poorly designed earbuds with multiple drivers have been known to give you a jarring performance due to irregularities in frequency response. So a pair of cheaper single driver earbuds can in many cases be better than some multiple driver earbuds.
When it comes to the comfort of IEMs the most important thing are ear pads, ear tips or ear plugs as they are also called.
Fortunately you can get different sized ear tips that fit all models. This way you can adjust the comfort level for your ear shape.
Additional ear plugs are cheap but can make all the difference in the comfort and noise isolation. If you’re half serious about in-ear headphones, get additional ear plugs as well.
If you’re looking for cheap wireless earbuds you should expect to pay quite a bit more than for wired models.
Wireless technology is still expensive and that adds to the end price.
In this article we’ve focused on wired cheap earbuds under $50 or less as this ensures you get best sound quality possible, without having to pay for wireless technology.
They have to be robust enough to withstand your everyday routine. Cheap price doesn’t have to mean low quality materials.
Generally cheap earbuds are made in a generic way. Not necessarily fragile, but you simply cannot expect them to be as durable as more expensive headphones.
Keep in mind, with proper care any earbuds should last you years.
The cheapest headphones don’t have active noise isolation, but passive noise isolation can do a pretty good job as well.
Just like with wireless technology, active noise isolation costs money. This way, if you’re looking for top inexpensive earbuds don’t look for active noise cancellation.
For best noise isolation on a budget, look for various sized rubber tips available on the market that can greatly improve the comfort and isolation of your earbuds. There are many different sizes to choose from and don’t cost a lot of money. (+improve the comfort)
Value for Money
There is a vast array of brands competing for your attention in the price range of $10 to $50. With a bit of research you can find a great pair of in-ear headphones that will serve you well for a very long time.
Usually less known brands and models tend to provide biggest value. Because small companies want to get their brand out, they offer their products for less money to gain market share.
This is a great plus for you, the consumer.
Below are some of the most popular headphones that are great value for your money.
The balance of quality build, comfortable wear, nice design and very balanced high sound quality with the right amount of bass, makes these #1 choice for best cheap earbuds.
At the moment there is no other budget model of earbuds on the market that you could say is superior than the SoundMAGIC E10.
Sure, we all have our own preferences in sound tones, bass levels, design and brands, but the big majority of reviewers and experts can’t all be wrong.
This is a very popular budget model for a reason.
Getting a proper fit is the same as with any other in-ear monitors, you have to find the right ear tips and position that suits you. SoundMAGIC E10 are easy to fit.
Sound isolation is pretty good as well. You can enjoy the music without outside noise while still hearing what is going on around you. This is important if you plan to use them on the street.
These are very comfortable and if you have small ears you can replace the original ear tips with smaller softer ones for maximum comfort.
Because the casing is so light wearing them for hours is not a problem, just get the right fit and you’re good to go.
Immediately you can spot the metal casing which makes these earbuds look premium and durable at the same time. This is not some cheap, low quality metal either.
It feels and looks premium, like if you’d pay $100 for it.
There are no in-line controls of any kind, just the regular wires.
Did we mention the SoundMAGIC E10 were chosen as best budget earbuds on the market by What Hi-Fi magazine?
The thing these earphones really excel at is sound quality.
The perfect balance of clean high pitched, medium and low bass sounds makes these one of the best sounding cheap earbuds ever made.
Don’t expect emphasized deep bass, as these really focus on balanced sound.
The bass tones are prominent and clear, but not throbbing as some people like it. (bass-heads)
These IEMs are perfect for listening to all types of music, but especially the genres in which clean, balanced sound comes alive.
The perfect balance of sound with great pitch and mid bass packed inside durable and stylish metal casing for a budget price. If this sounds good to you, get them while they’re still available. (Check the upgraded E10s version as well, pricier but worth it)
Here are another great value for money Vsonic IEMs. The previous VSD1 model has been great and the newer VSD1S is even better.
For many audiophiles these are best sub $50 in-ear earbuds on the market right now. While the brand is a bit less known in public, the experts all agree Vsonic VSD1S are one of the best budget earbuds.
In fact they are so good they can compare to $100-$200 IEMs with multiple drivers.
They fit very well to most sizes of ears and most of you shouldn’t have an problems getting a proper fit. Noise isolation is about average and like with all in-ear monitors, greatly depends on the ear tips you use. The bigger the ear tips, the better airtight fit, the better noise isolation.
Vsonic VSD1S are very comfortable, thanks to their slightly V shaped design and quality ear tips. In case you have smaller ears or you’re just used to custom ear tips get them.
With proper ear pads these are one of the most comfortable earbuds you’ll ever wear. You can literally forget you’re wearing them.
The build quality is good, not exactly military grade durability, but good enough. The weakest part seems to be the wires. While having a special matte finish that makes them look really cool, they seem rather thin. Nonetheless taking decent care of them will go a long way.
Vsonic VSD1S don’t have any controls so you’ll simply have to use your music device to control it. You do get a carrying pouch with it though it doesn’t offer a lot of structural protection.
The sound quality is something you would expect from above $100 earbuds and definitely not under $50.
The sound in general is very balanced and clean.
There’s no screeching pitch so common in cheaper earbuds. The bass is tight, but not punchy or overpowering. If you like more bass you should check best bass earbud models here.
It produces very smooth and clear mids with a slightly warmer sound, while still being very accurate. This is great for pop, rock, classical and symphonic music, but since the sound is so balanced you can listen to anything and you’ll still get high quality sound.
If you’re looking for clean and balanced audiophile sound quality, but don’t want to give over $100, Vsonic VSD1S are a great choice that won’t leave you disappointed.
Brainwavz is known for producing great value for money earbuds. The S0 model is one of them.
The things that really stand out are the build quality (metal casing, strong wires), sleek design, comfortable and tight fit with overall balanced sound and slightly enhanced mid bass.
One great bonus are the many ear tips that you get with the original packaging. You can choose from different materials and different sizes that can compare to premium ear tip standards.
You get Comply S-400 premium ear tips in the package.
Testing all the ear tips is really fun, plus you learn what type of ear tips suit you best for the future. This ensures maximum sound isolation and comfort for long use.
Because of their extreme lightweight design they are very comfortable to wear. Pu them on, adjust the fit to your fitting and forget you’re wearing them. Simple as that.
The metal casing with really high quality ear tips makes these IEMs premium grade when it comes to durability. While the casing protects from everyday use it also makes the design look modern and sophisticated. Nonetheless, treat them as budget earbuds and they’ll serve you well.
The in-line controls with microphone work well. You should have no problems increasing the volume or changing the song with your iPhone or Android device.
The S0 model compared to Brainwavz Delta’s produces superior sound, slightly cleaner and richer sound with better soundstage. This is to be expected as they are almost 2 times more expensive, the Delta’s are still great value for the money.
Additionally with the ear tips you get a shirt clip and a nice carrying case ensuring a long life for your earbuds.
The overall sound is rather balanced with a more prominent mid bass. This might be a flaw for some or an advantage for others.
Depending on your sound tastes, these are something between perfectly balanced and enhanced bass for bassheads. (Top basshead headphones)
If you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, but know that you want some bass, yet not too much, these are a perfect fit for you.
In case you’re looking for nice, durable budget earbuds with balanced highs and mids and with some bass, the Brainwavz S0’s are a perfect choice for you.
Another pair of great IEMs (in-ear monitors) that produces sound comparable to $150 models for less than $50.
The Japanese ZERO AUDIO Carbo Tenore have been very well known in the audiophile society for providing great sound for very little money.
The ear tips coming with these IEMs are decent, but the sound and comfort can be improved by getting different, softer ear tips for better comfort and sound seal.
Sound isolation is overall pretty good with original tips but getting better ear tips is recommended, this is one of the advantages of these earbuds. Good sound isolation means your music won’t be distorted by outside noise.
They are very light and thus comfortable, as all quality IEMs (in-ear monitors) should be. Listening to them for hours on end won’t leave you with irritation, there is really nothing to complain about. As always, pick the right ear tips and enjoy great sound quality.
It’s always good to know how long you can expect your earbuds to survive.
Generally Zero Audio Carbo Tenore are not the most durable compared to others on our list, but still do a decent job surviving the wear and tear of everyday use.
They are made out of carbon and aluminum so these are built from strong materials. Build quality is good enough to ensure usability for years, but you should treat them slightly better than some other more durable models.
Another problem is the fact that these are being sold out of Japan and the company doesn’t recognize the warranty outside Japan, though this might have changed by now.
Have no controls or microphone. You’ll also have to get your own carrying bag if you use it as you don’t get it in the package.
Now let’s go to sound quality.
For many people these are the best sounding budget earbuds. Producing very balanced sound with clean, strong bass yet probably not enough for a basshead.
All ranges of sound are very balanced while still producing good bass on bass-heavy music.
You’ll be able to hear a lot of detail and in a way that it was meant to be heard.
Good balanced sound means very natural sounding music. Especially the vocals can be heard just like the singer would be singing next to you. This is something only more expensive headphones are known for.
Overall, Zero Audio Carbo Tenore produce one of the more balanced sounds at this price range while still being able to produce good sub-bass and pack everything in a comfortable and durable package.
Sennheiser CX300 II at under $50 (under $40 actually) are great value for the money earbuds with their powerful, bass-driven sound they are simply the best budget IEMs for bass oriented users.
If you like thumping bass, you’re going to like these.
Made by Sennheiser, a known German brand that provides great quality headphones in all price ranges.
They fit nicely and stay in ears in most situations. Some use these for sports as well.
A standard selection of different sizes of ear tips allow you to customize the fit to your liking.
Noise isolation is pretty average and depends on the ear tips that you use. For best isolation get some triple flange tips as they tend to offer the best results.
Earbuds are made out of plastics so they are lightweight and once you put them on you’ll soon get used to their low weight. They are nothing special, just like other standard in-ear monitors, good but not great.
The build quality is really high. The small, compact build makes these earbuds very durable.
The wires are very easy to untangle and can survive quite a lot of punishment.
No controls or microphone, just regular wires.
But you do get a nice little pouch to offer a little bit of protection in case you’re carrying them around in your backpack.
The sound is very bass heavy.
People looking for a balanced sound will say this is a bad thing, but if you like more bass in your music, these should be your pick.
The CX 300 II Precision Enhanced Bass are producing almost too strong bass, it is noticeably enhanced and overpowers other ranges.
This means it is very hard to hear the details of the music, and generally these don’t have the clearest or the most precise highs and mids as the bass is so strong.
The CX 300 II are one of the cheaper Sennheiser model, but are still a glowing example of high quality audio, good noise isolation, comfortable fit and durability all packed in one affordable package.
Overall, these are by our opinion best budget earbuds for bassheads right now.
Immediately when you unpackage these in-ear headphones you’ll know they are built with durability in mind.
The weight of the earbuds might be a bit bothersome in the beginning, but you eventually get used to it. Put them on with the right size of ear tips and they fit as good as any earbuds.
Noise isolation is average with regular ear tips. If you want to maximize background noise isolation, get yourself some premium triple flange tips, those are the best for the job.
Comfort is achieved with 7 sizes of ear tips to choose from and while they might seem a bit heavy they fit in nicely. You’ll also get used to the weight in a few days and won’t notice it anymore.
They are made of quality materials, aluminum case and Kevlar protected wires, and look strong without any weak parts.
Out of all in-ear headphones reviewed on this page these are the most durable, almost military grade.
Some call these “Tank earbuds”.
In fact if you break these IEMs you’re doing something wrong and should seriously think about your treatment of earbuds.
For more reviews of durable earbuds click here.
There are 2 models. The first one has only regular wires without any remote or microphone. The second model which is slightly more expensive has a microphone, but no remote. So you can make calls when connected to a phone, but you can’t control music with them.
Carrying pouch is also well made and offers a convenient way of carrying them around.
With the correct choice of ear tips you will get great sound range. Very balanced and more or less clear and detailed.
While still slightly lacking in the sound quality compared to SoundMAGIC E10s or Vsonic VSD1S, they are good enough to enjoy everywhere you go.
J4s sound really good, while they may be weaker playing mid-range sounds they are still great overall.
Punchy bass and clear highs make these earbuds stand out from the average group, especially considering how durable they are.
The best part of these is the price. You get great sound, awesome durability with clean and rugged design for less than $40.
There aren’t many earbuds that can compare in value.
For those of you who are looking for maximum durability, yet with quality balanced sound in a budget package, JLAB J4 are the earbuds for you.
Brainwavz Delta almost fit in the category of under $20 as they are priced slightly above $20. If you’re lucky you might find them below that price in a special offer or at certain holidays where discount prices are common.
You will be surprised how much value you get from under $30 IEMs (in-ear monitors).
In fact these are the #1 choice for best cheap earbuds under $30 without any other model coming near.
They fit very well for most people and the quality selection of ear tips helps with that.
In the package you receive 4 sets of silicone ear tips of different sizes and a set of Comply foam S400 tips which is a really nice addition to the whole package. You don’t need to buy any other ear tips to get the most out of Delta’s. We recommend using Comply tips for best performance.
Noise isolation is about average of what you can expect from IEMs, for better isolation get a pair of triple flange premium tips.
Once you find the right ear tips for your ears, Delta become very comfortable IEMs to wear anywhere you go. The good thing is they don’t have any problems with microphonics which means you can wear them any way you like without affecting the sound quality.
They might not be the lighter earbuds you’ll ever wear, but comfort doesn’t suffer because of it.
The build quality is better than expected, if you didn’t know they were under $30 you’d think they were priced somewhere between $75 and $100.
The quality aluminum casing makes them look and feel sturdy while maintaining that “premium” metal look.
The cord is very durable as well, thick and rubberized with additional reinforcement of the plug in adapter, this is something most earbuds lack at this price range.
Looking for best Bluetooth IEMs?
There are 2 different models. One for iOS device and one for Android devices. Make sure to pick the right model according to the type of devices you’re using. You get in-line remote and microphone by which you can control the play/pause, volume, songs and make hands-free calls. That’s a nice feature for such cheap earbuds.
The biggest advantage of Brainwavz Delta’s is sound quality.
In this range no other IEMs get close to the clean, balanced sound of Delta’s you’d expect from earbuds 3 times the price.
Highs and mids are slightly emphasized while still being able to reproduce clean bass. The bass is not very prominent, but at least it’s not the low quality “boomy” bass so common in this price range.
Soundstage is also amazingly good for this price, creating an open, spacious sound.
Being so cheap you can carry them around with you without fear of losing or damaging them, making them perfect budget earbuds that can also be enjoyed for quality sound.
All in all, you’re getting very balanced, clean sound quality that will satisfy even an audiophile, packaged in stylish aluminum casing with a durable cord for slightly over $20. This is a sure winner of best value for money earbuds under $30.
Made by a company called Symphonized which is relatively unknown, but has gotten a lot of attention with this IEM model.
Just like the name tells, these are made out of real wood which makes them really stand out in its design.
Wood also has great acoustics abilities, since they are used for speakers, why not earbuds? If you want to stand out with this vintage design while saving money, these are your best choice.
You get 6 different pairs of ear tips which should be enough to pick one that suits your needs. The tighter the fit the better the noise isolation which is slightly above average if you pick the right tips.
These are very comfortable. Wood is a light material and combined with quality ear tips you get very comfortable earbuds. In a couple of days after first using them, your ears will get accustomed and you’ll forget you’re wearing them.
Durability doesn’t suffer because of wood. In fact it’s quite sturdy and makes for durable earbuds that you can’t break just like that. Well just like with any earbuds, if you sit on them they’re likely to break, also make sure to keep them away from water.
The Symphonized NRG Premium earbuds have an in-line microphone which works for making calls, but also for using to control the device with Voice Control. Voice controls works well in environments without much background noise.
The carrying pouch is designed to fit with the wooden deign, but doesn’t offer the best physical protection.
At under $30 sound quality doesn’t disappoint.
Detail rich and slightly warmer tones will make you fall in love with your music. These earbuds especially excel at mid range tones.
The wooden structure noticeably adds to the quality of bass and produces rich and slightly warmer sound.
The audio can compare to some of the more expensive headphones and you wouldn’t know you’re listening to below $30 earbuds.
With gold plated audio jack and silicone ear tips these earbuds produce good passive noise isolation to enjoy these everywhere you go.
Interested in top gaming headsets?
If you are looking at that extra feature that allows you to walk and talk, then this one is for you.
One small issue is microphonics, if you rub against the wires you’ll hear the sound in your earbuds, this happens with all nylon/cloth type wires.
With its built in microphone, compatibility with all smartphones, an affordable price, great looks and sound quality too good for this price, it is a very good bargain.
Here is a model of cheap earbuds for those of you who always tangle your cords in “untangable” mess.
Zipbuds are special because of their unique zip wires that you can zip up to avoid tangling. This is so far the best way to completely avoid the problems with cords.
We all know how frustrating it is when you have to untangle a mess of wires. They give you what’s promised, a tangle free pair of patented Zipbuds minus the hassle.
They have a special shape of earbuds (ComfortFit2 technology) that helps with keeping them in even during fast movement.
Because of their durable nature and snug fit you can easily use these for working out or other activity.
Because they are so good at getting a snug fit, they also offer above average sound isolation. This is great for when you want to enjoy your music alone and not be bothered by outside sounds.
Comfort is also a quality. Fitting snugly into the ear canal ensures proper sound production.
The comfort is achieved with specially designed earbuds that you will barely feel inside your ears.
You can wear these for hours without irritating your ears.
The only thing you have to get used to are slightly heavier wires since they are protected by the zip.
Durability wise they are well built and should last you longer than your average IEMs (in-ear monitors). Considering you won’t be pulling these in clumsy situations because of the zip feature, you’ve probably already gained a couple more months of service from them.
No remote or microphone, since it would be impossible to implement it with the zip technology. That’s the price of having a zipper for the wires.
The audio quality is also quite good.
While the sound is not as balanced and detailed as with some other models on this list, it’s not too bad.
One problem they have is microphonics, if you bump against the zipped wires you’ll hear it in your ears, this is a non-issue for some and a deal-breaker for others.
The bass is enhanced, deep and heavy and it has no problems playing higher pitched sounds as well.
Prominent bass will probably tick off an audiophile looking for balanced, rich sound, but if you’re an average listener and like more bass, you’ll enjoy these.
Overall these are one of the most comfortable, well designed (zipper) and durable earbuds you can get for a low price under $30 with a “bassy” sound.
The second Sennheiser model on this list is equally great value for the money as the first one.
If you’re slightly interested in headphones you’ve probably heard about this German brand in the past.
This is one of the cheaper models, but doesn’t disappoint. If you’re lucky you might get these for less than $20.
With the innovative “Twist-to-Fit” technology CX200 have better fit than most earbuds and when you get an airtight fit you will get better passive noise isolation and better sound quality.
In fact because of the fit technology, which impacts isolation, sound and comfort, these are one of the better earbuds for the money for this reason alone.
When it comes to comfort they don’t disappoint either. These are quite light and if you change the ear tips you can get a very comfortable pair of earbuds.
Sure, you get only the standard 3 pairs of silicone ear tips, but they do a good job nonetheless. You can always spend a bit more money on premium Comply tips if you want.
Well-built and made from durable material in a smart design ensures long life with normal use.
The design is typical Sennheiser, minimalistic, but sleek and durable.
No in-line remote or microphone, the only thing you get is a standard cord with a 3.5mm plug-in at the end.
Sound quality wise they have no special features or advantages over other models on this list.
It has good sound overall as you’d expect from a brand like that. Slightly stronger bass would be annoying to a demanding audiophile, but just about right for an average user.
To really get the most of sound quality, you have to fit them the right way to get maximum noise isolation which is one of the things this model excels at.
These IEMs block more outside noise than most earbuds in this price range. Different ear tips can help with that too.
Once snugly positioned in your ears, you’ll get clean quality sound with strong bass without distortion of outside noise. Click here for best bass headphones.
In the end, if you’re looking for a quality pair of in-ear earbuds from a known brand, with very comfortable and durable design and sound that doesn’t disappoint, get Sennheiser CX 200.
The Xiaomi Piston 2 were replaced with brand new 3rd generation. The chocolate smell of the 2nd gen is gone, but you get a lot of other nice features and improvements with the new model.
The price is slightly higher than before so they don’t fit in the “Under $20” category, at least until the price falls for a couple dollars.
Keep in mind that Xiaomi is a Chinese company that had their products copied by copycats, and with the new model it isn’t any different. The 3rd gen is rather new, but you can already find counterfeit models on the market, make sure to buy from reputable stores or websites.
Xiaomi Piston 3.0 won the product design Red Dot Award 2015 in Germany.
The new 3rd gen model improves the fit of the previous model. The 2nd gen had a problem with thick nozzles that would fall out of ears frequently. The new nozzles are thinner and fit in more easily even if you have smaller ears.
Sound isolation is pretty good considering you get decent ear tips in the original packaging. With the 2nd gen the ear tips were so bad it was mandatory to change them for some better ones. 3rd gen improves in this regards, but you can still get some sound isolation and sound quality improvement if you get a pair of quality Comply tips.
Because of smaller size and lighter design, the 3rd gen Xiaomi Piston feel a lot more comfortable. You can easily wear them for hours without any discomfort. This is one area where the older model really needed improvement.
As always ear tips play an important role achieving optimal comfort. This is why you get 4 sizes of regular silicone ear tips. For better overall performance, you probably already know, we suggest getting Comply foam tips for all in-ear monitors.
Even though the new model uses more plastic it still feels solid and durability shouldn’t suffer. The Y splitter and nylon protected cables seem well made for budget earbuds.
The durability of the old model, Xiaomi Piston 2, wasn’t great but it seems the updated model is slightly better but not by much. After all this is still a budget model and you simply can’t expect top notch durability from them.
Generally it is not uncommon for one of the earbuds to die out after a while, keep that in mind.
The earbuds have an in-line microphone and controls. They’ve become sleeker looking, more in line with the overall look. The buttons need some getting used to since they are smaller, but work as intended.
The microphone call quality is good enough to make a hands-free conversation, but can’t compare to a high-end Bluetooth microphone.
If you are an iPhone/iOS user, the volume controls don’t work, the rest of buttons, play/pause and song selection do work. For Android devices, all buttons works.
The sound of the Piston 2 was quite bass heavy and many people liked it, but the new Piston 3 have a lot more balanced sound. (still not “audiophile” balanced) They’re more of a Hi-Fi earbuds than before.
The overall sound signature is slightly V shaped, but not overly so.
The bass is still punchy and more detailed than before, the mids are more prominent than with Piston 2, but still lacking compared to bass and treble. The highs have been slightly improved by having less sibilance.
Overall, the sound quality is a lot better than what you’d expect from under $30 earbuds.
Note: To get the best and true sound Piston 3 are capable of, make sure to burn them in for at least 50+ hours. In the beginning they lack in all ranges.
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of earbuds with nice design and great, slightly V shaped sound signature, get Xiaomi Piston 3s and be amazed how much little money can give you.
These under $10 IEMs are a budget gem that offer more than meets the eye.
True, these are not very modern or cool, but when it comes to pure value and sound quality these Philips earbuds are probably the best overall pick under $20.
There are many colors to choose from and the design is compact and simple. The cord is good enough to last the life of earbuds. Nothing fancy really.
They are very light since they’re made out of plastics and the fit can compare to all average IEMs, nothing special but don’t have any major problems staying in ears.
Sound isolation is pretty good too and there is no need to replace the original ear tips as the original ones do a good job at isolating.
Are they comfortable? Well you could say so. There are no irritating parts and the soft silicone ear tips work just fine, but they are no comfort champions either. This is a budget model and you can’t expect premium features in every category.
Durability is not the best, but then if they break you can just buy new ones without worrying too much about the price. Not to mention in most countries companies are required by law to give some kind of warranty, if they stop working on their own before 1 year of age, you can usually get a new pair for free.
These were just not built for durability, but fare fine nonetheless.
No special features, no remote or microphone, just wires and a 3.5mm plug at the end.
The feature that really stands out in this price range is the sound quality.
Initially they may not seem very good, but with some use or after burning them in you will get very refined, clean sound that is unusual in this range.
There is even some bass, very controlled but still enough to enjoy the music. Mids and highs are very clean and precise which comes as a surprise for a model this cheap.
In the end the sound is much better than the price promises; you’ll be surprised of how much sound these IEMs produce.
If you want to experience a surprisingly good pair of earbuds for less than $10 than you can’t go wrong with Philips SHE3590.
MEEletronics Sport-Fi M6 are another great sports in-ear headphones for little money.
Real bang for the buck.
There is a newer, updated model M7P which is still a good choice, but it has a considerably higher price of around $40. For under $20, M6 model is still better.
Their memory wire makes them very secure in your ears while still being comfortable, this is ideal for any sports activity where it’s important they stay in position.
Additionally you get 6 different ear tips to fit your ear lobe perfectly. Their in-ear design provides good noise isolation so you’re able to enjoy rich sound and enhanced bass wherever you go.
Keep in mind that you need to test a few ear tips before you’ll find a stable, snug fit.
Picking the right ear tips also plays a major role for comfort. If you don’t have the right ear tips on, they might feel “weird” to you, at least until you get used to them.
In general, with right ear tips and proper position these are comfortable enough to workout with. The memory wires tend to rub against the skin behind your ears, but you get used it. For workouts you’ll have a hard time finding stable earbuds with perfect comfort.
The wires are super durable because of their “memory” design with metal protection. Once you position them the right way, you’ll hear a big difference in sound quality.
They are also sweat-proof and water-resistant for cases when you get caught by rain in the middle of your run. For best underwater headphones, click here.
Overall, they are very durable and able to withstand a lot of punishment.
There are 2 models available, The M6 model without remote/mic and the M6P model with in-line remote and microphone. If you make calls during your workouts get the M6P, but keep in mind they cost slightly over $20 most of the time.
The carrying bad is nice and sturdy, perfect for frequent gym goers. This way you’ll keep your earbuds safe for a long time.
When it comes to sound, it’s very smooth, warm and detailed with prominent bass tones.
Low bass tones are probably the strongest point of these IEMs, prominent, punchy bass that won’t leave you feeling cold. Mids are also very clean and rich while high pitched sounds are slightly lacking in detail and clearness.
In the end you get warm, fun earbuds that sound great for the money.
These same earbuds are also recommended as one of the best earbuds for working out.
Their overall ability to withstand moisture, fit securely in your ears and provide good noise isolation and audio quality that’s fun to listen to for less than $20 makes them best value sports earbuds right now.
You won’t believe the price of these beauties. At below $10, you can’t ask for a better deal.
This is the ideal balance of audio quality, built quality and durability for little money.
No wonder they are so popular, as of currently, these earbuds are number #1 sellers on Amazon.
This alone tells a lot about the value you’re getting.
Because they are so light they don’t pull down when in the ears, find proper ear tips and you won’t notice them for the most time.
Noise isolation is about average, nothing special, but still much better than with many over-ear headphones.
They are very comfortable and rather good at staying in position.
The comfort is quite good, feels light and doesn’t bother the ears. You can easily wear then for hours without any discomfort. 3 soft ear tip pairs make your choices for best comfort even easier.
When it comes to build quality it shows they are cheap. The plastic casing and some rather flimsy wires don’t promise much in terms of durability.
The materials are really basic, but this is what you get for the low price.
You are paying below $10 for a pair of earbuds, don’t expect any special features like a remote or microphone because you wont’ find them.
Sound-wise these have quite good bass. Probably the only strength of these is better than average bass in this price range. The mid tones are clean and balanced, while high tones aren’t particularly good.
Overall you’re still getting superb sound quality for the price that is rather balanced and doesn’t have any major flaws.
While these are not sports earbuds you can still use them as ones.
These Panasonic earbuds are nothing special compared to many otherson the market, but when considering the price, these are the optimal balance of everything a pair of earbuds is supposed to be.
If you’re looking for dirt cheap yet good earbuds, these are the best under $10 IEMs on the market right now.
While these Monoprice earbuds may not be as comfortable as the Panasonic’s above, they are better when it comes to sound quality. Much better in fact.
For just around $10 these offer a lot of value you can’t get elsewhere.
The design needs some getting used to, but with better ear plugs you’ll be very happy with them. The ear tips that you get in the original package aren’t the best and are recommended to switch them to some better ones.
Noise isolation is only decent, but new ear tips can improve it.
They aren’t the most comfortable or most sound isolating because of their specific design, but nonetheless can still be enjoyed. For best comfort some Comply foam tips can do wonders.
The built quality is decent enough and doesn’t seem to have any major issues or break points. Take good care of them and they will last you years. If they break, well just get a new pair.
You’re only getting a regular cord with a plug at the end. No earbuds this cheap have a microphone or remote.
They pair comfortably with your iPod or other portable music devices through a 3.5 mm gold plated stereo plug.
When it comes to sound, the bass tones are clear and punchy with good bass response in this price range.
The clarity of mids and highs is also better than many models priced at $50+. It’s not crystal clear, but surprisingly good for real budget IEMs.
Overall the sound is comparable with much more expensive models and this is probably the only “around $10” model that comes near that.
If you’re looking for dirt cheap earbuds with clear mids and punchy bass that can compare to models 5 times more expensive, than these are the earbuds of your choice.
Let us know what you think about the models selected here.
Should we add a new model not yet available for voting?
Tell us, why you think your top model is better, just don’t forget to stay in the price range. Budget earbuds have to be cheap.
Don’t forget to share and like the site for future updates.